MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday told more than 600,000 people attending his inauguration: "You are the boss so I cannot ignore your orders."
“My presence here today is proof that you are my true strength. I never expected that I will be here taking my oath of office before you, as your president. I never imagined that I would be tasked with continuing the mission of my parents. I never entertained the ambition to be the symbol of hope, and to inherit the problems of our nation,” Aquino said at the start of his inaugural address.
The President promised to design and implement an interaction and feedback mechanism that can effectively respond to the people's needs and aspirations.
"Hindi ko makakayang harapin ang aking mga magulang, at kayong mga nagdala sa akin sa yugto ng buhay kong ito, kung hindi ko maisasakatuparan ang aking mga binitawang salita sa araw na ito (I will not be able to face my parents and you who have brought me here if do not fulfill the promises I made)."
“My parents sought nothing less and died for nothing less than democracy, peace, and prosperity. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward,” Aquino added.
He said he too has experienced and is tired of a government that has been blind and deaf to the people's ills.
"Kayo ba ay minsan ring nalimutan ng pamahalaang inyong iniluklok sa puwesto? Ako rin. Kayo ba ay nagtiis na sa trapiko para lamang masingitan ng isang naghahari-hariang de-wangwang sa kalsada? Ako rin. Kayo ba ay sawang-sawa na sa pamahalaang sa halip na magsilbi sa taumbayan ay kailangan pa nila itong pagpasensiyahan at tiisin? Ako rin (Have you ever been ignored by the very government you helped put in power? I have. Have you had to endure being rudely shoved aside by the siren-blaring escorts of those who love to display their position and power over you? I have, too. Have you experienced exasperation and anger at a government that, instead of serving you, needs to be endured by you? So have I)," the 50-year old bachelor president stressed.
We all know what it is like to have a government that plays deaf and dumb, the feeling to be denied justice, to be ignored by those in whom we placed our trust and tasked to become our advocates, he added.
"Kami ay narito para magsilbi at hindi para maghari. Ang mandato ninyo sa amin ay pagbabago - isang malinaw na utos para ayusin ang gobyerno at lipunan mula sa pamahalaang iilan lamang ang nakikinabang tungo sa isang pamahalaang kabutihan ng mamamayan ang pinangangalagaan (We are here to serve and not to lord over you. The mandate given to me was one of change. I accept your marching orders to transform our government from one that is self-serving to one that works for the welfare of the nation)," the President pointed out.
With all these, the President vowed that under his administration, no more junkets, no more senseless spending, no more turning back on pledges made during the campaign, whether today or in the coming challenges over the next six years.
"No more influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more short cuts, no more bribes. It is time for us to work together once more." Aquino added.
"Today marks the end of a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people. It is not Noynoy who found a way. You are the reason why the silent suffering of the nation is about to end. This is the beginning of my burden, but if many of us will bear the cross we will lift it, no matter how heavy it is," Aquino said.
Sirens and blinkers
With Aquino saying that the public would no longer have to bear with the indiscriminate use of sirens by some government officials, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said the Aquino government aims at fully implementing the ban on the use of sirens, blinkers and other similar devices.
De Lima, in a briefing after the first Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, said existing laws on the use of such equipment only exempts the President, Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker, and the Chief Justice.
"That's a very exclusive enumeration of the officials na pwede ang wangwang na iyan (that can use sirens). We get to see once in a while those sirens...." she said.
Local officials and others not included in the list of officials allowed to use the sirens should refrain from using them, she added.
Former President Gloria Arroyo on June 30, 2005 issued Administrative Order 122 barring the indiscriminate use of sirens and blinkers citing that only specific agencies and offices are allowed to use them.
Arroyo made the issuance which amend Presidential Decree No. 96 issued by former President Ferdinand Marcos on January 13, 1973, which states that "sirens, bell, horn, whistle...domelights, blinkers and other similar signaling or flashing devices" maybe used and attached to motor vehicles designated for official use, among others, by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Commission, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances.
Aquino's promises of change
* Good, honest and effective governance to transform the government from one that is self-serving to one that works for the welfare of the nation;
* "If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor," the foundation of his administration;
* Ethical, honest, and true public servants and leaders;
* Reviewing midnight appointments;
* Lessen the lack of infrastructures for transportation, tourism and trade;
* Revival of the emergency employment program;
* Quality education, including vocational education and addressing the glaring shortage in classrooms
and educational facilities;
* Improved public health services such as PhilHealth for all within three years;
* A home for every family, within safe communities;
* Strengthen the armed forces and the police;
* Security for farmers to help them with irrigation, extension services, and marketing their products at the best possible prices.
* Create employment at home; however, while working towards that end, tasked are relevant agencies to be more responsive to the needs and welfare of the overseas Filipino workers;
* Strengthen the process of consultation and feedback;
* Committed peaceful and just settlement of conflict in Mindanao.
At the Quezon City Memorial Circle, 120,000 troop to street party Wednesday evening.
President Aquino arrived from Malacanang shortly before 10 p.m. while Vice President Binay held a separate victory party at his residence in Makati City.
Aquino, wearing his signature yellow shirt, belted out two songs, including a Freddie Aguilar classic "Estudyante Blues."
"I haven't practice my (inaugural) speech earlier and I haven't practiced as well for this one. It was better in 1986 when we experienced a coup d'état," he said in Filipino.
The seven-hour street party became a virtual repeat of Aquino's colorful campaign as stars from major networks blurred competition just for a night; Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Gabby Concepcion, Mariel Rodriguez, Vhong Navarro, Regine Velasquez, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Arnel Pineda, among others.
Present in the concert grounds are Aquino's sisters Balsy Aquino-Cruz and Kris and the president's girlfriend Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad.
Aside from the big names in the entertainment industry, political allies of Aquino also showed up to cheer him on his inaugural concert.
Quezon City Representative Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte, returning Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri, former Bukidnon representative and losing senatorial bet Neric Acosta, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were also present.
Aquino supporters queued for at least 30 minutes just to get inside the grounds as they have to pass through two layers of security.
Meanwhile, as expected, vendors took the opportunity to sell items ranging from refreshments to Aquino memorabilia.
Shirts, which bear the face of the new president in the historical Time Magazine cover, are priced at P130 each while yellow ribbons cost P10 each.
The revelry capped off in a 15-minute fireworks display past 11 p.m. (Kathrina Alvarez/Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/With JMR/AH/Sunnex)